Bill That Would Track Online Porn Consumers Nixed by Israeli Communications Ministry

'No content on the internet should be pre-filtered,' ministry says after bill that requires users to specifically ask for access to porn wins broad support.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A person typing on a keyboard
IllustrationCredit: Artur Marciniec | Dreamstime.com
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The bill that would have required internet service providers to block pornographic websites and require customers to specifically ask for access to them, will not pass through the Knesset after the Communications Ministry said Monday it opposed the legislation.

The bill, submitted by MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi), had been approved Sunday by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

Moalem-Refaeli promised on Monday to advance an alternative version of the bill, which will only slightly alter the current situation. Her revised bill will not involve any content-filtering by the providers, but would sharpen existing requirements for ISPs to provide filtering programs for free upon request.

“The obligation of the ISP will be intensified so that [it] will be required to inform the customer by text message and email when they sign up,” reads the new version, which will be put to a vote in the Knesset in the coming days.

The Communications Ministry said, “The position of the ministry was and remains that no content on the internet should be pre-filtered, and that the various ISPs are obligated to inform the customer of the existence of offensive content online and to supply customers with filtering programs for free.”

The original version of Moalem-Refaeli’s bill had broad support and may well have passed if it had been brought to a vote; 26 MKs from most of the Knesset factions had signed onto the bill, including from the opposition parties Zionist Union, Yesh Atid and the Joint List. Only Meretz MKs had refrained.

But not everyone who supported the original version felt totally comfortable with it. MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid) told Haaretz, “The truth is that when I signed it, it was out of a desire to protect children. But I must admit that upon reading it in depth, there were a lot of problems with it.”

Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union), who also signed it, still expressed unequivocal support. “As someone who was exposed to the issue in the educational system, I stand totally behind the bill,” he said. He called the possible privacy violation inherent in forcing someone to request access to pornography “proportionate considering the risks to children, not to mention the exploitation of women.”

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott